Kedashiro suggests that the Senkaku Islands dispute should be resolved with Okinawan involvement

Kedashiro suggests that the Senkaku Islands dispute should be resolved with Okinawan involvement

On December 5, Yotake Kedashiro, chair of the War-Bereaved Association in Yashio-so in Naha.

December 5, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

On December 5, a seminar entitled “The Senkaku Islands dispute and Okinawa” was held by the Okinawa Human Rights Association in the Yashio-So in Naha. Yotake Kedashiro, chair of the Senkaku Islands Missing-War-Bereaved Association, and Kenichi Uezato, emeritus professor of the University of the Ryukyus and chief of the Okinawa branch of the Japan-China Friendship Association, gave talks and led discussion on ways to ameliorate the confrontation between Japan and China.

Kedashiro talked about the deployment of the Patriot Advanced Capability missile system (PAC 3) on Ishigaki Island by the Japan Self-Defense Force in response to notification from North Korea that a missile would be launched. He is concerned that this may lead to the militarization of the Sakishima Islands. At the same time, Kedashiro called for the Okinawa Prefectural Government to serve as an intermediary between the United States and China.

He said that the memorial service held at sea near the Senkaku Islands by several Diet members was a “political show,” and also said, “I believe that resolving the territorial dispute will make people rethink the so-called threat from China and that the scaling down of U.S. military bases and revision of the Japan-U.S. Status-of-Forces Agreement will then be possible. Those issues can be resolved if Okinawa takes the lead to become a bridge between the United States and China.”

He mentioned that when the PAC 3 was deployed to Ishigaki in April, representatives of the Japan Self-Defense Forces were stationed within the Ishigaki Municipal Office and said, “The relationship between Ishigaki and Japan’s Self-Defense Forces will be strong.” He is concerned that this may become a threat to the peaceful administration of these affairs.

Kenichi Uezato said, “Japan should cancel the nationalization of the Senkaku Islands and devolve custodial rights to Okinawa. This should lead us in the direction of negotiations with the Chinese government. We should recognize that a territorial dispute exists, and Okinawa should offer the Japanese and Chinese governments possible solutions. A problem related to the Senkaku Islands is also Okinawa’s problem.” He said that Okinawa should be leading the way, and speaking up to resolve the issue.”

(English translation by T&CT, Hitomi Shinzato and Mark Ealey)

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